Negotiating Your Surrogacy Contract
It’s a wonderful thing when intended parents match with a surrogate. As their journey together commences, they develop a relationship like no other. However, the possibility of not seeing eye to eye on everything exists. And that is why a surrogacy contract, or what Circle calls a Carrier Agreement, is put into place.
There are certain topics intended parents and surrogates shouldn’t discuss without the presence of legal representation. Lawyers handle such matters, and Circle’s Carrier Agreement allows the intended parents and surrogate to agree on a number of issues before beginning the surrogacy journey. Some of these issues include the IVF clinic that will be handling the medical screening and transfer, the number of embryos to be transferred, costs for maternity clothing, insurance coverage, and others that are discussed in more detail below.
As you’ll want to give close consideration to your Carrier Agreement, here is a list of the most commonly negotiated topics.
Celibacy. You’ll be negotiating the amount of time your surrogate is to be celibate. Many intended parents (IPs) agree upon two weeks before and after each transfer. This ensures that the surrogate does not become pregnant with her own child or potentially contracts a sexually transmitted disease. Both of these circumstances would be rare, but the Carrier Agreement contains this provision in order to protect the health of the pregnancy and child.
Compensation. While your surrogate receives a determined base fee, there are additional expenses you’ll have to negotiate. These include payments for invasive procedures and cesarean sections, costs for maternity clothing, and bed rest—among other things. Your attorney will negotiate a reasonable fee for each of these costs, often with a capped limit.
Lost Wages. If the surrogate works outside of the home, intended parents typically pay for her lost wages if she has to miss work or take a leave of absence. The thought process is that the surrogate should not have to make financial sacrifices as a consequence of her surrogacy arrangement. This fee applies to bed rest, as well.
Medical Decisions. Like any pregnancy, surrogacy carries some uncertainty with it. Intended parents and surrogates should be on the same page with regard to the number of embryos to be transferred, positions on abortion and selective reduction, as well as the number of fetuses to be carried. The contract helps to ensure that these issues are agreed upon by all parties before moving forward.
Privacy Concerns. Your intentions for your relationship with your surrogate should be discussed for expectation and contract purposes. Circle Surrogacy encourages open and honest relationships between intended parents and surrogates and asks that the parties maintain at least weekly contact with each other. Most parties agree to maintain the confidentiality of the other party, but if you would like to discuss your surrogacy journey with the media or provide more details via your social network, it is important to incorporate such an allowance into the Carrier Agreement.
Pumping. Do you want your surrogate to pump breast milk after the child’s birth? Is she willing to do so? How much are you willing to pay her for this service? How long are you planning to ask her to provide her breast milk? These are all questions that should be answered during the contracts stage of surrogacy. Keep in mind it is standard practice for IPs to financially compensate the surrogate for pumping as it requires additional time and effort from the surrogate.
If you’re a tad overwhelmed, don’t be. Circle’s legal team is ready to assist you every step of the way, ensuring a finalized Carrier Agreement with which you are comfortable.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.